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Censorship

Florida School Cancels Reading Program Over Cory Doctorow Book

The principal of a Pensacola, FL-based high school has cancelled its One School/One Book summer reading program citing concerns that the approved reading assignment promoted hacker culture.

Students were going to read Cory Doctorow’s bestselling YA novel Little Brother, but the school pulled the book after receiving complaints from parents. Doctorow blogged about the issue on BoingBoing:

In an email conversation with Ms Griffith, the principal cited reviews that emphasized the book’s positive view of questioning authority, lauding “hacker culture”, and discussing sex and sexuality in passing. He mentioned that a parent had complained about profanity (there’s no profanity in the book, though there’s a reference to a swear word). In short, he made it clear that the book was being challenged because of its politics and its content.”

In response, Doctorow made the above video in which he explains that he and his publisher Tor Books are donating books directly to the students.

Fan Fiction Site Defends Itself After Wisconsin Stabbing

creepypastaWikipasta, a community writing site dedicated to horror stories, has defended itself after two preteens viciously stabbed their friend claiming they were inspired by Slenderman mythology.

Slenderman is a fictional character was created as part of a “paranormal pictures” contest hosted by the Something Awful forums in 2009, according to KnowYourMeme. He is featured in tons of fan fiction online and known for his tall thin demeanor and excessively long appendages.

After calls to shut down or censor the site, Wikipasta has pointed out that all works on the site are fiction. ”This is an isolated incident, and does not represent or attribute the Creepypasta community as a whole,” explained an administrator in a post on the site. “This wiki does not endorse or advocate for the killing, worship, and otherwise replication of rituals of fictional works. There is a line of between fiction and reality, and it is up to you to realize where the line is. We are a literature site, not a crazy satanic cult.”

Tennessee School District Bans ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’

booksA Tennessee school district has banned British author Mark Haddon‘s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for its use of profanity.

The Wilson County School Board in Tennesee pulled the mystery novel, which is about an autistic teenager investigating the death of his neighbor’s dog, from a 9th grade reading list this week.

The Tennesseean reports: “The board voted 3-1 to remove the book from the list of approved reading in the school district. One board member was absent. ‘The F-bomb is pretty common in that book, and that’s what I have a problem with,’ said board member Wayne McNeese, who received complaints about the book from some of his constituents. ‘I’m not dumb enough to think students don’t hear that language, but it doesn’t mean we should promote it.’”

Parents Protest Sex Ed eBook in Missouri School Library

itsperfectlynormalPerfectly Normal, a middle school sexual education digital textbook by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley, is has received some complaints from parents in Missouri.

The book shows graphic representations of people having sex, which is leading some local parents to petition to have the eBook removed from a school library in the Francis Howell School District. USA Today has the story:

District officials say “it was determined to keep the ebook available as a resource for check-out in the library. If a parent determines that he/she does not want to their child to have access to certain materials, we honor that request.”

Patron Tried to Ban Dr. Seuss’ ‘Hop on Pop’ From Toronto Library

hoponpopA Canadian parent filed a complaint to the Toronto library last year, asking to ban Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s book Hop on Pop because it “encourages children to use violence against their fathers.” The complaint was revealed this week when the Toronto Library released its Materials Review Committee report for 2013.

The person suggested that the library remove the book from the library’s collection and “issue an apology to fathers in the GTA and pay for damages resulting from the book.”

The committee rejected the complaint and retained the book in the children’s book finding that ”the book is a humorous and well-loved children’s book” and has maintained its popularity since it was published in 1963. The committee also pointed out that, “the children are actually told not to hop on pop.” (Via TIME).

Parent Calls Cops on Sherman Alexie Novel Distrbution During World Book Night

truediaryStudents in Idaho celebrated World Book Night last week by handing out free copies of Sherman Alexie‘s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

The National Book Award winning title was recently banned by the Idaho school district. Members of the district that disapproved of the book called the police on the teens distributing the free copies last week.

Shelf Awareness has more: “KBOI-2 reported that ‘the police asked Kissel about passing out the book. They said they found nothing wrong with what was going on in the park.’ Case closed. Kissel said they had 350 books to give away at the park, along with 350 donated by publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Another book giveaway is planned for next week.”

Dav Pilkey, Toni Morrison & Sherman Alexie Lead ALA’s Frequently Challenged Books List

captainunderpantsCaptain Underpants by Dav Pilkey, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie led the  most challenged books of the year list this year.

This is according to the Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books, compiled annually by the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). The list explores books that have received the most complaints. Check it out:

The OIF collects reports on book challenges from librarians, teachers, concerned individuals and press reports. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness. In 2013, the OIF received hundreds of reports on attempts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves.

We’ve got the whole list after the jump. Read more

‘The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian’ Banned in Idaho School District

truediaryThe Meridian School District in Idaho has voted to ban The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie from a 10th grade English reading list.

The controversial book won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2007. The Idaho Statesman has the story about why the book was banned. Check it out:

Trustees say they want school officials to look for a book covering Native American cultural issues, but written at a higher reading level than Alexie’s book. They also want the district to review its curriculum on cultural diversity, which has included the book. Alexie’s novel tells the story of a Native American who ends up going to high school at a mostly white urban school and faces bullying and other problems. The book makes reference to masturbation, contains profanity and has been viewed by many as anti-Christian.

According to the Kids’ Right to Read Project, book censorship in school districts across the U.S. rose last year.

Reddit Admits Book Banning Was April Fool’s Day Joke

reddit304Last week Reddit said that it was updating its policy and banning discussions of classic books from the subreddit discussion of books. The site has now come clean and admitted that this was just an April Fool’s Day joke.

“Well, you probably guessed it. We’re not actually going to ban any books from discussion in /r/Books,” explains the site. ”It was our hope that our early prank would foster discussion about popular books, other literary subreddits, and how bad it is to ban books. Happily, it was a success!”

The joke wasn’t all in vain though. The moderators did admit that they want to idea to get across that readers should expand their discussions beyond  very popular books. “It has always been the largest complaint about /r/Books that we bring up the same books over and over,” reads the site. “But, to defend that, of course the most popular books are going to be brought up the most. It’s a difficult issue to address in a large subreddit, and we are happy that it was discussed so much this weekend.”

Authors Fight Ban on Books in UK Prisons

photoBritish authors Phillip Pullman and Mark Haddon are among many that have spoken out to stop new rules that restrict access to books among prisoners in the UK.

“Any government worth having would countermand this loathsome and revolting decision at once, sack the man responsible, and withdraw the whip from him,” Pullman told The Guardian.

Mary Sweeney launched a Change.org petition today urging Rt. Hon. Chris Grayling MP to “review and amend” the new rules. The petition has already generated more than 5,000 signatures. Here is an excerpt from the petition: “Access to books can be crucial for education and rehabilitation. Access to family items are important for continued family connection, and should not additionally punish children of prisoners who need contact.” (Via The Guardian).

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